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Online Gambling in the United States: Which States Allow it?



In the United States, legal online gambling options vary from state to state, some states prohibited legalizing and regulating online gambling up to 2011 due to the Federal Wire Act. It changed after lottery officials in New York and Illinois asked the Department of Justice to guide them regarding the selling of Lottery tickets. Although the original request was aimed at Lotteries, the Justice Departments interpretation opened the door to most forms of online gambling.

Since then, several states have seen this as an opportunity to legalize, regulate and tax US online casinos and Poker.

States where Online Gambling is legal

The following states have legalised online gambling, and they are:

Unlike Sports Betting, the legalisation of online gambling in the US has been a slow and tedious process. The legalisation of online casinos and online Poker began in 2013, and that’s due to Nevada launching online Poker. This was closely followed by Delaware and New Jersey legalizing online casinos as well as poker sites. In a nutshell gambling at an online casino is allowed in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. However, when looking to play Online Poker, players need to travel to New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and Pennsylvania. However, online sports betting is available in several states with the numbers growing on a daily basis.

These are small victories for players in the US, and the hope is that a few other states will pass legislation authorising online gambling. These States are:

  • California
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts

Gambling in the US

The question of online gambling being illegal in the US is a frequent question, and it’s a straightforward question with a complicated answer. The short and less complicated answer is no, and that’s because there is no federal law banning it in the US. However, in 2006 the US Government passed a law called the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006) which made it illegal to place a gambling bet over the internet. In essence this resulted in online casinos closing their doors as it was pointless if players could not do transfers of money.

In short, the USA has a long and complicated history with gambling. Specific forms of gambling have been prohibited at certain times while at other times, laws have permitted gambling.

Nowadays, individual states have their say over whether to legalise it or not, and this has left many online players uncertain about its legality. The US does have specific laws like the Federal Wire Act of 1961 ( and the UIGEA Act of 2006 ) which prohibits gambling across state lines which means placing a single bet may be in order however placing a bet with a bookie across state lines is illegal.

It’s a can of worms because besides the states that legally operate it’s illegal to conduct an online website anywhere in the US. However, it’s not unlawful for online gamblers to place wagers on an online gaming website, as several overseas operators accept American players.


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